Pardon me for being unimpressed with Current.tv’s new outpost on Yahoo. They’re still not getting the internet. Worse, they’re dissing the internet. And that’s troubling from a content, interactivity, or business perspective. But it’s also puzzling from a political perspective.
The network still does not share its best stuff — or what it thinks is best — with the internet because they’re still afraid of pissing off cable companies, which still aren’t picking up Current in volume. Note that other networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox — are no longer scared of pissing off their channels of distribution. But Current’s business model is predicated on getting cable carriage. I still say they should have built the first big, funded, citizen-created internet TV network. But they didn’t. They could have used Yahoo to get attention for what they put on the “air.” But they didn’t.
The network also remains quite controlling. They create videos that try hard to look and sound just like bad 7 p.m. syndicated unnews shows. They have uninformative but still costly travel pieces sucking up to Dubai … and then teasing a story next week on the sad lives of prostitutes there; they haven’t found their place on the flullometer. Oh, yes, they show videos created by the people. But they put those videos through a process of selection, a gauntlet the citizens have to run — still — before they are heard. Since Current started, YouTube obsoleted that model; the people no longer need to guys with the cables and antennas to be heard. But Current doesn’t see that. Current could have made Yahoo an opportunity to create an open network of the videos of the people. But they didn’t.
What they did do is create a small and uncompelling collection of videos — a few made by them, a few made by others — about things like driving and flying. Why? Because there are ad dollars there (well, in the case of automotive, there aren’t as many ad dollars from automotive as they may have thought). Making money is fine. But when I saw a button called “action” on Yahoo’s Current, I thought it might be about taking action in the country and the goverment. No, it’s about going fast. Odd, considering how going fast on the ground or above does have an impact on global warming.
Al Gore, inventor of Current and the internet, has been dissing the latter lately. He respects broadcast to the masses more than conversation with the niches. That’s the old way to look at the world in both media and political terms. I’m surprised he hasn’t updated that view and started living it. He also has created venues that are closed, controlled at the center, not generous at the edges. That, too, is the old way of media and politics. So what does this say about Gore the politician these days? I’d say it makes him look out-of-date, not so current.